A few weeks ago, a close friend found herself suddenly rushing to the emergency room with her 8 year-old-son. Her husband was traveling (of course! Why do these things always happen when they’re out of town?!), her teenage daughter was watching the younger ones at home and she was in her minivan praying for help.
Her son, who was adopted at a young age from a traumatic home, was having a major breakdown -- a full-blown emotional, violent storm with no end in sight. The only option the doctors could suggest was to have him sedated before he hurt himself or someone else.
Her thoughts were just as chaotic as her son. Would sedation cause more problems? Would they admit him? Was this temporary or indicative of a bigger, more long-lasting problem? What if this was the new normal?
I must confess that if I was in her place, I probably would have been flipping out with worry and fear. But my friend didn’t. Instead, her perspective took my breath away: “There’s nothing I can do to fix this,” she thought as she raced toward the ER with a screaming, sobbing child next to her. “I have no idea what will happen. All I know is that God is here. And that’s enough.”
A famous story in the book of Mark describes Jesus and his disciples in the midst of another violent storm:
"And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”
And the wind ceased, and there was great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:37-41, ESV)
There is something profound about Jesus not immediately calming the storm as soon as it started . . . because He was so calm that He was asleep!
There is also something profound about what He wanted His disciples to understand. "Do you not care?" they cried. But they were His best friends: Of course He cared! And He was with them. He wasn’t calmly watching from shore: He was going through the storm right along with them!
Yet when Jesus asked why they were afraid, He was signaling there was no need for fear. He wanted his disciples to have peace -- in the midst of it all.
Ladies, there’s something beautiful here that we must not miss -- peace is possible with Jesus. And for moms, especially, there are few things that can cause a storm of worry more than a concern about our kids.
"BUT JUST BECAUSE WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A STORM, HE DOESN'T HAVE TO TAKE AWAY THE WIND AND WAVES IN ORDER FOR US TO HAVE PEACE."
He was there in the boat with his disciples. And He is here with us now. The point is . . . He is here.
I never realized when I signed up for this motherhood journey that it could be so . . . rocky. I had images of what being a mom would be like, complete with cozy snuggling in the rocking chair, reading books together and -- while we’re at it -- how about that idyllic dinnertime conversation over a well-balanced meal and utter harmony between siblings?
Now back to reality, folks. While those images were wonderful, they’re not real life. I’ve had plenty of amazingly sweet, snuggly moments with my kids but there have also been other “moments” too!
How about when I worried over my young son being bullied in school? Or when my daughter’s best friend walked away? Or when my son was diagnosed with epilepsy and our whole lives seemed to turn upside down? Or when my daughter left for college . . . without me?!
It’s a whole series of ups and downs, isn’t it? But just as with my friend -- who frantically raced to the hospital and got the immediate medical help she needed -- Jesus was present in every one of those moments.
The question we need to ask ourselves is this: In the midst of the storm, do we truly know that Jesus is with us? Do we read the Word and have it settle deep into our bones? Do we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to make us aware of His presence in the good times and the hard ones?
Just because the waves and the wind seem fierce and our hearts are beating out of our chests, doesn’t mean we’re alone. The exact opposite is true. The Creator of the universe, the Savior, the One who loves us the most -- He is there. And when we look around and really see Him, we will finally be at peace -- no matter the storm.
Shaunti Feldhahn is a groundbreaking social researcher and best-selling author of For Women Only. Her newest devotional is Find Peace: A 40-Day Devotional Journey for Moms.